Can Gestational Diabetes Increase Your Risk For Problems During Pregnancy
Yes. If not treated, gestational diabetes can increase your risk for pregnancy complications and procedures, including:
Gestational diabetes also can cause health complications for your baby after birth, including:
- Breathing problems, including respiratory distress syndrome. This can happen when babies dont have enough surfactant in their lungs. Surfactant is a protein that keeps the small air sacs in the lungs from collapsing.
- Jaundice. This is a medical condition in which the babys liver isnt fully developed or isnt working well. A jaundiced babys eyes and skin look yellow.
- Low blood sugar
- Obesity later in life
- Diabetes later in life
Treatment For Gestational Diabetes
You can do a lot to manage your gestational diabetes. Go to all your prenatal appointments and follow your treatment plan, including:
- Checking your blood sugar to make sure your levels stay in a healthy range.
- Eating healthy food in the right amounts at the right times. Follow a healthy eating plan created by your doctor or dietitian.
- Being active. Regular physical activity thats moderately intense lowers your blood sugar and makes you more sensitive to insulin so your body wont need as much. Make sure to check with your doctor about what kind of physical activity you can do and if there are any kinds you should avoid.
- Monitoring your baby. Your doctor will check your babys growth and development.
If healthy eating and being active arent enough to manage your blood sugar, your doctor may prescribe insulin, metformin, or other medication.
How Gestational Diabetes Can Affect You
As mentioned above, gestational diabetes often comes with no symptoms, so you probably wont know that you have it until the doctor diagnoses it. However, gestational diabetes can still have an effect on you.
Gestational diabetes can increase your risk of high blood pressure while youre pregnant. Also, you may have a larger baby, which can make delivery difficult or require a C-section.
Gestational diabetes can also put you more at risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
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Higher Blood Sugar In Early Pregnancy Raises Babys Heart
Elevated maternal blood sugar when the fetal heart is forming has been linked to a heightened risk for congenital heart defects, according to a new Stanford study.
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the babys risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
The study was published online Dec. 15 in The Journal of Pediatrics.
For many years, physicians have known that women with diabetes face an increased risk of giving birth to babies with heart defects. Some studies have also suggested a link between nondiabetic mothers blood sugar levels and babies heart defect risk. However, the new study is the first to examine this question in the earliest part of pregnancy, when the fetal heart is forming.
Most women who have a child with congenital heart disease are not diabetic, said the studys senior author, James Priest, MD, assistant professor of pediatric cardiology. We found that in women who dont already have diabetes or develop diabetes during pregnancy, we can still measure risk for having a child with congenital heart disease by looking at their glucose values during the first trimester of pregnancy.
The studys lead author is Emmi Helle, MD, PhD, an affiliate in pediatric cardiology and former postdoctoral scholar.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed
Women with diabetes before pregnancy have already been diagnosed. Depending on the severity of their disease, they may need continued care by their medical physician along with their obstetrician.
Nearly all nondiabetic pregnant women are screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, a glucose screening test is given, which involves drinking a special glucose drink followed by measurement of glucose levels after a one-hour interval.
If this test shows an increased blood glucose level, a three-hour glucose tolerance test will be performed.
If results of the second test are in the abnormal range, gestational diabetes is diagnosed.
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How Does Gestational Diabetes Affect Pregnancy
If left untreated, the high blood sugar levels associated with gestational diabetes can lead to various issues during pregnancy, such as:
Giving birth to a large baby , increasing the risk of injury during birth for both the baby and the mother. The chances of requiring a Caesarean section also increase at high birth weights.
Increased risk of miscarriage, birth defects, and stillbirths.
High blood pressure, which can harm both long-term and short-term health.
Preeclampsia, a rare complication characterized by high blood pressure with possible kidney or liver damage.
Blood Sugar Control During Pregnancy
Good blood glucose control reduces the risks of complications developing for the mother and baby.
The target HbA1c for mothers before and during pregnancy is 6.1% .
People with diabetes before their pregnancy will be advised to keep excellent control of their blood sugar before and throughout the pregnancy.
The first eight weeks of the pregnancy are a critical period and so it is highly recommended that strong control is achieved prior to becoming pregnant wherever possible.
Mothers who develop gestational diabetes will be treated initially with diet and exercise but may be put onto oral hypoglycaemics or insulin injections if blood sugar levels remain high.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
There are no guarantees and about half of women who get gestational diabetes dont have any risk factors. But its always a good idea to adopt healthy habits.
- Watch what you eat: Your doctor or a nutritionist can help you make healthier choices in your diet. In general, eat less sugar and refined carbohydrates . Add more fiber to your diet .
- Step up your exercise: Talk to your doctor about what activities are best for you, but typically walking, swimming, yoga and other low-impact exercise is best.
Who Does Gestational Diabetes Affect
Each year, up to 14% of pregnant women in the US develop gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes can occur in pregnant women who have never had diabetes and whose high blood sugar levels are first detected during pregnancy its different from being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes before becoming pregnant. If a mothers blood sugar levels remain elevated after pregnancy, she may have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
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Gestational Diabetes Risk Factors
Youâre more likely to get gestational diabetes if you:
- Were overweight before you got pregnant
- Are African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander, or Native American
- Have blood sugar levels that are higher than they should be but not high enough to be diabetes
- Have a family member with diabetes
- Have had gestational diabetes before
- Have polycystic ovary syndrome or another health condition linked to problems with insulin
Risks Of Diabetes And Pregnancy
This information is for women who were diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes before they got pregnant. It does not cover gestational diabetes.
Most pregnant women with diabetes will go on to have a healthy baby. But there are some possible complications you should be aware of.
Risks to the baby can include:
- the baby having low blood glucose levels, low calcium or jaundice after delivery – this is common
- having a larger baby – which can cause problems during labour
- having a smaller baby than expected – who might need care in a neonatal unit
- malformation incorrect development of the baby – this is rare
- being stillborn – baby dies before it is delivered – this is also rare
Risks to the mother can include:
- more frequent low blood glucose
- poor hypo awareness of a low glucose
- developing a blood pressure problem
- worsening of existing diabetes kidney or eye problems
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Maternal Complications Of Diabetes On A Pregnancy
Complications for the mother depend on the degree of insulin need, the severity of complications associated with diabetes, and control of blood glucose.
Most complications occur in women with pre-gestational diabetes and are more likely when there is poor control of blood glucose. Women may require more frequent insulin injections. They may have very low blood glucose levels, which can be life threatening if untreated, or they may have ketoacidosis, a condition that results from high levels of blood glucose. Ketoacidosis may also be life threatening if untreated. It is not clear whether pregnancy worsens diabetic related blood vessel damage and retinal changes, or if it causes changes in kidney function.
Nearly 10 Percent Of Pregnancies In The Us Are Affected By Gestational Diabetes Every Year So Know That Youre Not Alone
And know that it doesnt mean that you had diabetes before you conceived or that you will have diabetes after you give birth. It means that, by working with your doctor, you can have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. No matter what, you have all the support you need for both you and your baby.
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Diabetic Eye Screening In Pregnancy
You will be offered regular diabetic eye screening during your pregnancy. This is to check for signs of diabetic eye disease .
Checking your eyes during pregnancy is important. The risk of diabetic retinopathy increases in pregnancy.
Diabetic retinopathy is treatable, especially if it is caught early.
If you decide not to have the test, you should tell the doctor looking after your diabetes care.
- other health care professionals
The obstetricians and midwives will have training in diabetes in pregnancy. They will work with you to provide your antenatal care. They will organise visits and ultrasounds to check on your babys development and growth.
How Is Gestational Diabetes Managed After Pregnancy
Research has shown that women with gestational diabetes have a 3 to 7 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within five to 10 years which is why its important to make healthy habits routine during pregnancy and keep a check on your health after your pregnancy is over.
Here are a few ways to stay healthy after baby is born:
- Keep up with doctor visits. Make sure your primary care physician and/or OB/GYN reevaluates you after your postpartum visit at six weeks and then again every year to check your fasting glucose and HbA1c levels.
- Talk to a registered dietitian. An R.D. help you to develop an eating plan that will help keep glucose levels in a healthy range.
- Continue to choose healthy foods. Opt for wholesome picks like vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, fruit, lean meats, dairy and whole grains.
- Consider breastfeeding longer, if you’re able. Breastfeeding may decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes after gestational diabetes. There are several possible explanations, including that breastfeeding women have lower levels of glucose circulating in their blood.
- Fit in fitness. Although your newborn will undoubtedly take up a lot of your attention, try to get in as much doctor-approved exercise as possible. It’s important to take some time to care for yourself during the postpartum period .
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Will Gestational Diabetes Affect My Baby
Your baby will probably be healthy, if you and your doctor manage your blood sugar while you have gestational diabetes.
Right after you give birth, doctors will check your newborn’s blood sugar level. If itâs low, they may need to get glucose through an IV until it comes back up to normal.
Gestational diabetes raises the chance that you will have a baby who is larger than normal. It’s also linked to jaundice, in which the skin looks yellowish. Jaundice generally fades quickly with treatment.
Although your child will be more likely than other kids to get type 2 diabetes later on, a healthy lifestyle can cut that risk.
What Are The Risks Factors Associated With Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
Although any woman can develop GDM during pregnancy, some of the factors that may increase the risk include the following:
Overweight or obesity
Family history of diabetes
Having given birth previously to an infant weighing greater than 9 pounds
Prediabetes, also known as impaired glucose tolerance
Although increased glucose in the urine is often included in the list of risk factors, it is not believed to be a reliable indicator for GDM.
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What Do I Need To Know About Blood Glucose Testing Before And During Pregnancy
How often you check your blood glucose levels may change during pregnancy. You may need to check them more often than you do now. If you didnt need to check your blood glucose before pregnancy, you will probably need to start. Ask your health care team how often and at what times you should check your blood glucose levels. Your blood glucose targets will change during pregnancy. Your health care team also may want you to check your ketone levels if your blood glucose is too high.
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Gestational Diabetes And Pregnancy
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first seen in a pregnant woman who did not have diabetes before she was pregnant. Some women have more than one pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually shows up in the middle of pregnancy. Doctors most often test for it between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Often gestational diabetes can be managed through eating healthy foods and regular exercise. Sometimes a woman with gestational diabetes must also take insulin.
Ways To Check Your Blood Sugar
Self-Checking: Give yourself a blood sugar test as often as your doctor advises. To do it, you use a gadget that pricks your finger with a tiny needle. Youâll put a drop of blood onto a test strip. The strip goes into a handheld device that measures your blood sugar level.
Record the test results, so you can share it with your doctor. Based on your results, the two of you may adjust your diet, exercise, or medication.
A1c Test: This is a blood test you’ll get in your doctor’s office at least twice a year, or as often as they recommend.
The results show your average blood sugar control for the past 2 to 3 months. You and your doctor need this test to see how well your diabetes treatment plan is working, so you can make changes if you need to.
Think of it this way: Self-checking is like a daily snapshot of your blood sugar control. The A1c test gives you the big picture.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring System: If you choose this method, your doctor will place a tiny sensor under your skin to check blood sugar levels every 5 minutes. It sends data to a monitor that you wear like a pager for a few days.
You’ll still need to check your levels throughout the day continuous glucose monitoring doesn’t replace that. It gives your doctor more information about trends that self-checking might not show.
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Key Points About Diabetes During Pregnancy
Diabetes is a condition in which the body can’t produce enough insulin, or it can’t use it normally.
There are 3 types of diabetes: Type 1, tType 2, and gestational diabetes.
Nearly all pregnant women without diabetes are screened for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Treatment for diabetes focuses on keeping blood sugar levels in the normal range.
Women with gestational diabetes are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in later life. Follow-up testing is important.
Who’s At Risk Of Gestational Diabetes
Any woman can develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, but you’re at an increased risk if:
- your body mass index is above 30 use the BMI healthy weight calculator to work out your BMI
- you previously had a baby who weighed 4.5kg or more at birth
- you had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy
- 1 of your parents or siblings has diabetes
- you are of south Asian, Black, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin
If any of these apply to you, you should be offered screening for gestational diabetes during your pregnancy.
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